Making wellbeing and enacting social justice

Lead Research Organisation: Queen Mary, University of London
Department Name: Drama

Abstract

Research in the field of health, wellbeing and communities strongly indicates that the creation of conditions of equality, inclusion and social justice are of key importance. Where communities are changing and connecting with others, intercultural research demonstrates that these conditions are important but that for integrating, respectful communities to emerge communities need to be engaged in a demanding common task which involves them in *making something* together. This making will be *something* which involves creative and human energy and is collectively articulated. Where conditions of equality and social justice pertain this task is likely to be successful in producing wellbeing and strong collective memories as well as capacity building for the future. Research in community education and community anthropology also points to the importance of such communal, intercultural creative endeavours being conducted in conditions of safety and security which are scaffolded by people respected in their community or acknowledged as authorities. This proposal for project development funding aims to construct a full proposal for practice based community research which will thoroughly investigate these conditions as they are made.
In addition, this proposal recognises that evaluation of wellbeing, of the benefits of cultural creative activity at community level and of applied arts approaches to research are difficult to capture using either quantative or qualitative methods as traditionally conceived. The project therefore aims to pilot a concept of Frame Throwing based on metaphorical conceptions of random control sampling of ecosystems in the life sciences, using a quadrant frame, which is thrown over a sample and the activity within the quadrant is then the subject of analysis. By *translating* this concept and associated methods into the arts and connected communities context the proposal will make a refine the concept. It can then be used in the full large consortia project, but by others in different social and geographical settings.

Planned Impact

Impact in the form of capacity building and community engagement is integral to the design and implementation of this project and to its practice-based approach to knowledge exchange and research conception. Grassroots participation, inclusion and empowerment are at the core of the project's research and engagement strategy. The central focus and research questions have grown out of existing collaborations with community organsiations and participants in our core locations of Dartmoor, London and Glasgow. Whilst these existing collaborations have been individual, one-off projects with their own unique impact, the focus of this development proposal is a move to connect these existing collaborations through a series of visits. The investigators involved in the research design and development project will visit each other's collaborations, meet with participants and explore the 'Frame Throwing' concept in different contexts. In each visit consultancy will be undertaken with partner organisations including the use of the KETSO discussion tool where appropriate. KETSO is an ESRC spin-out project (www.ketso.com) which has been used widely for engagement and planning in Scotland with Glasgow Refugee Asylum and migration Network (GRAMNET).

Templates for the Frame Throwing concept will be made available to the partners for immediate use once designed, and the KETSO model will also be evaluated and disseminated further. As the consortium are designing the project using the core understandings of wellbeing research (social equality, participation and empowerment, agency, embodiment, collective creative projects) it is envisaged that a key impact will be enhanced wellbeing and creative output, not just in the full research project, if successful, but in its foundational stage.

As such the project development phase aims to create inclusive practice in impact design from the outset so that by the time the large grant proposal is submitted all community partners will have:

a) Explored, assessed and further developed the Frame Throwing concept
b) Used and evaluated KETSO in their context for design and consultation
c) Been involved in the co-design of the large consortia project.

The impact of a)-c) above will be measured in the new understandings of practice and evaluation gained by the partner organisations and the development of their own tools of community evaluation, experienced through the project consultancy and visits. Through the wider community arts and social policy fora these initial project partners will act as multipliers.

Organisations benefiting directly are:
-NewhamLink members, including the Older People's Reference Group and Black and Ethnic Minority Community Care Forum
- MED Theatre, Devon
-Camcorder Guerrillas, Glasgow
-Faith in Communities Scotland
-Pan African Arts Scotland

The inclusion of these groups as full participants in the research design and as hosts for our project development research visits ensures impact as follows:
- Community workers and academics meet from the outset and one marker of impact will be the foundation laid for different discursive styles and communities to meet and learn from each other and grow in familiarity.
- The work of community connection done by individual groups is used to inform the full project design.

Timescales for impact are as follows:
Immediate impact: In consultation and project design in meetings and face to face discussion of the project conception.
Medium Term (6 weeks-3 months): Reflection on pilots and use of both Frame Throwing and Ketso as planning and evaluation tools based.
Longer term: Capacity built in 3 locations and designed for project implementation and portability through the final submission of the full proposal

Publications


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Description Research Project Description:

As Principle Investigator on two AHRC Connected Communities programmes I have collaborated with the NHS-funded LINK network (including AGE UK and the Black and Ethnic Minority Community Care Forum/BEMCCF) to consolidate its advocacy and consultation initiatives by employing an arts-based approach. I have co-designed a client-led participatory method, Frame-Throwing, over a five-year series of workshops, creating a level platform for both communities and researchers. Frame-Throwing complements more extractive research methodologies in that all participants negotiate research questions. Findings are translated into evidence and framed as draft legislation for sustainable, client-led policy change.


Research Imperatives:

• To design, test and disseminate a practice-based applied performance methodology facilitating user-led impact upon healthcare and policy.

• To enable community groups to communicate directly with researchers and policy-makers.

• To train an intergenerational team of community multipliers (ages 12-82) to co-design with researchers workshop templates for the investigation of health and wellbeing.

• To negotiate with multipliers the dissemination of these templates in appropriate modes and media.
Exploitation Route • Client-led NHS participatory consultation: commissioned by NHS/Newham LINK into proposed East London hospital closures: Stratford Town Hall, 2/3/10.

The template for this is available to all NHS Trusts
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice
URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9cPwludkWw
 
Description Pilot for Post Doctoral training in the School of Dentistry at QMUL. One hour of the Induction Curriculum. Presentations at the British Dental Association and at Practice-based research events internally at QMUL. Preparation for the whole package to be rendered as a REF submission.
Sector Education,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal